Q:

Are there any water shoes suitable for hiking?

When out hiking, I'm tired of getting my good-quality boots soaking wet when crossing knee-high stres. Worse still, repeatedly taking off my boots and putting on sneakers or water shoes is a drag, not to mention time consuming. So what's the solution, gear sage? Are there any "water boots" that are sturdy enough to handle trail hiking with a 25 to 35 pound pack, but that can also withstand multiple stre crossings and total immersion? Surely I'm not the only soggy hiker out there. Mitchell Fountain Valley, California

Sep 18, 2003
Outside
Outside Magazine
A: The short answer is: No, there really aren't any "water boots" that I can recommend for extended hiking while carrying a load. Essentially, they're all modified running shoes, designed with drain holes and fast-drying uppers. So in a way, you're kind of stuck with whatever system you have now.

I do have a few suggestions, though. One is to wear a pair of waterproof gaiters when hiking in stream-intensive territory. A pair of Outdoor Research Crocodiles ($58), snugly fastened, will keep water out during plenty of fast stream crossings. So too will donning a pair of Gore-Tex pants, snagging the cuffs around the hook-and-loop tabs on your boot tops, and again when making a fast crossing.

Otherwise, all I can suggest is that you swap out shoes when crossing a stream. It's a hassle, I understand, but there isn't another good solution. Maybe you can devise a system for keeping your water shoes closer at hand—hanging from your backpack belt for example—and perform a quick swap. And of course, if you anticipate several stream crossings in fairly short order, just keep the water shoes on. Teva Rodium shoes ($80) offer full foot coverage and good watery performance, and would be fine for short stretches of trail.

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